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How Studying the Past Can Help You Create a Successful Company

Historians claim that the past has a lot of impact on the future and they are quite correct. The statement above may have been made in connection with foreign policy and diplomacy, but the point is that this statement can be applied to the business world too. The would-be entrepreneur can learn a thing or two from studying successful companies. Business concepts applied by successful firms can be replicated in the present with great results. This is the connection between history and the successful entrepreneur.

The great thing about this connection is that investors can look at the history of certain firms and copy some of the practices that made these firms successful. Investors can also look at the history of some firms and learn valuable lessons. The prudent entrepreneur may also spot some mistakes made by certain firms and avoid making those same mistakes.

Apple Computers

apple store

Image by Neil Bird

The story of Apple Computers is an interesting one and there are valuable lessons for the investor here. The first lesson is that capital is not everything in business. In fact, human capital and entrepreneurship are more important than cash. When Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded Apple, they did not have a lot of cash but they had a lot of ideas. They also had a lot of drive and this is what kept the business going in the early years. Another lesson here is that the investor who supplies a need will a lot of the time become successful. There was a need for personal computers and Apple went into business to supply that need. This is why this firm has continued to grow.

Johnson Publishing Company


Image from JPC

Talking about success stories in recent history, one firm that readily comes to mind is the Johnson Publishing Company. The African American businessman, John H. Johnson, founded this firm. The story of this company is one of triumph against the odds. The founder of this profitable business had to overcome poverty before he began to publish the highly successful Ebony Magazine. After setting up his business, John Johnson fought another huge battle to create awareness and acceptance for his publications. The perseverance of this entrepreneur paid off and the Ebony publisher became one of the richest African Americans of all time. His business also grew into a very profitable organization and it has continued to thrive even after the death of the founder.



Image by Patrick Boury

The success story of eBay is one that will inspire a lot of entrepreneurs. In the first place, Pierre Omidyar, who founded the company, is a French born Iranian immigrant. He was a computer programmer and he used his skills to build the website, which has now become a very lucrative business. The lessons here are simple.

A humble beginning is all right as long as the investor can think big. Again, smart people can use their skills and set up a business in the area of their specialization. Perfect timing is also a factor in the success of eBay. Online shoppers need the right platform. EBay came up at the right time to provide this platform and the result is great success.

Whole Foods

whole foods market

Image by Laura Taylor

The last company on this list sells natural food. This is such a simple concept but it has made the founders of Whole Foods billionaires. Whole Foods Market began in Texas in 1978. Today, this firm has operations in many American states and posts billions of dollars in annual turnover.

For the entrepreneur, the lessons here are quite easy to understand. Start small but think big. Recognize an opportunity and seize it with both hands. Supply a need and keep working hard. These are great success tips and these can be learned by simply studying successful companies in America.

About the Author: Sarah Daren is a writer that creates articles about history and how it continually affects our lives today. She encourages further study in this field by pursuing a Masters in History Online.

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SMB Authors 1039 posts

This article is one of the excellent contributions from small business owners, decision makers and professionals.

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  • Kirk Lilo

    The passion to achieve or dream something big that drives a small business firms to boom is mostly the most common type you can see to a successful entrepreneurs.

  • Making a business successful isn’t going to be an easy way but with these principles I have read today, it’s ‘possible’. Thanks for the inspiring thoughts Sarah. :)